Tag Archives: Marching Band

Cat Bauer Interview

Cat Bauer is the author of

HARLEY LIKE A PERSON, reviewed here, and HARLEY’S NINTH, just out. You might wonder why I didn’t review the new book, like a normal person would. But then you’d remember that I’m really not a normal person.

• Cat Bauer lives in Venice, one of the most interesting cities in the world and ”” crazy as it sounds ”” doesn’t own a camera.

I don’t have a camera!

• How can you live in Venice and not have a camera?!

I really don’t have a camera.

• Sigh.

• How did you get started writing?

I was born that way.

• Which is harder for you … writing a first draft of a novel or cooking Thanksgiving dinner?

It is nearly impossible to write a novel. Thanksgiving is all about gravy.

• Which of your characters is most like you?

The one in the drawer.

• Have you based a character on someone who would be horrified to know it’s them?

Oh, I think they know 🙂

• What is the third best salad dressing?

Um… I am out of the salad dressing loop. Olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper are what we use here in Venice. And It Is Good.

• Just like the Presidential candidates … won’t answer a simple question! Not what’s “good,” Cat … but what’s third best? Just like, “who is the third best rock band of all time?” Obviously, in first place is the Beatles, then CSNY, but third is up for grabs …. could be Queen, could be Elton, could be practically ANYONE!

I really don’t know anything about salad dressings. I am not being a Presidential candidate. It is not a simple question if you only use oil and vinegar! I SERIOUSLY DO NOT KNOW ABOUT SALAD DRESSING. OKAY??????????

• Okay. Fine.

• Which is your favorite part of the writing process?

Grooving in the Zone.

• Least favorite?

Formatting properly.

• Who is your favorite author?

William Shakespeare

•What do you do for fun?

As much as I can.

• What is your writing process like? Do you sit at your desk for a certain amount of time every day or do you write until you get to a particular word count? Where do you write? Longhand or computer? Lucky talisman?

All of the above. Most of all, I like deadlines. They make me move. I like just the sound of it: Dead. Line.

• Were you in marching band? What’s your favorite band memory?

Yes, I was in the marching band. All photos have been burned. My favorite band memory was running off with a fireman during the Firemen’s Parade.

• Ooh la la! Did you get caught?

Yes, I got caught, and was thrown out of marching band, but then reinstated, only to get thrown out again for going to a Moody Blues concert instead of performing on stage (I was first clarinet).

• Hey! Moody Blues! Possibly in contention for third best band … see how this interview is working out? Must be good karma hovering around us.

• Is there a law that all firemen must be dreamy?!

Yes, there is a law that All Firemen Must Be Dreamy.

• What books are on your To Be Read pile right now?

Ulysses by James Joyce. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. The Harmony of the Spheres by Joscelyn Godwin. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Memories, Dreams and Reflections by Carl Jung.

• Wait. Are you just saying that or are you REALLY smart?! I ask because, although I consider myself a fairly learned member of society, right now on my nightstand I have a library book I’ve renewed 8 times without even cracking the cover, two romance novels written by pals, “Wobbly Bits and Other Euphemisms,” yet another dictionary of euphemisms, a Nancy Drew book … and four more that are just too embarrassing to mention.

I am really, REALLY smart.

• Chocolate or vanilla?

Vanilla for ice cream. Chocolate for… chocolate.

• What is your favorite line from a book?

“You’re nothing but a pack of cards!” Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

• What is the first book you remember reading?

At age four, “Stop That Ball” by Mike McClintock. I can still quote it: “I hit my ball, I made it fly, I hit my ball as it went by. It went around and then came back, I gave my ball another whack. I hit it high, I hit it low, I hit so hard, the string let go. The string let go, there went my ball, away up high, out past the wall.” Maybe I got a few words wrong there at the end, but you can imagine what happens next. I believe the ball was red, and there was a tuba involved.

• Would you agree that all great literature should involve a red ball, a boy and a tuba?

Yes. I totally agree. You may quote me: “All great literature should include a red ball, a boy and a tuba.”

• Which five people ”” living or dead ”” would you like to go to dinner with and why?

1. Cleopatra
2. Mary Magdalene
3. Isis
4. Marc Antony
5. Giacomo Casanova

All at the same table — I think the dynamics would be fascinating.

• What would you talk about? What would you eat?

We would talk about sex and eat wild boar.

• What is the most interesting thing about your childhood?

I was hit by ball lightning while lying in my cradle.

• Tell us more!

I don’t know any more.

• Arrgh. Karma? Hello?!

• What is the best question you’ve ever been asked?

“Will you marry me?”

• What is your Six Word Memoir?

Fallen angel. Have halo. Need wings.

• Mountain or beach?

On a beach by a mountain.

• Aah, a woman who wants it all!


• Tell us about any new books or projects you have coming up.

Venetian Cat – Venice Blog is my ongoing project.

Prowl around Cat’s website and blog … lots of interesting stuff. AND a delicious photo of George Clooney.

Thanks, Cat, for spending time in BeckyLand with us.

If you have any other questions for Cat … just leave a comment and I’m sure we can get her to answer!

You Might Be A Band Geek

You Might Be A Band Geek If …
1. You just found out that people pay to get into football games.
2. A story that begins, “This one time at band camp” really is a story about this one time at band camp.
3. You match step with whoever you’re walking down the hall with.
4. The football game is just the break on either side of the halftime show.
5. The only pick-up line you know is “Need any help with your fingering?”
6. You know that getting to rehearsal early means you’re on time, getting there on time means you’re late, and getting there late means you run laps.
7. You have a favorite time signature.
8. You conduct to the radio.
9. When someone asks who your favorite band is you answer, “High school or college?”
10. You know how many people fit in a tuba locker.
11. You argue with the administration to make marching band count as PE credit.
12. When people call you a band geek you smile and accept the compliment.

Got any more? Are you a band geek?

Tell me your band stories!

Marching Band High Jinx

Marching band kids are a hoot. Hanging around them keeps me young. Or just immature.

At band camp a couple of years ago, Trumpet Player A (no names to protect the guilty!) yanked down the pants of Trumpet Player B during a water break in front of the entire band. All in good fun but, yes, accidentally caught the boxers too.

It brought new meaning to the command, “Trumpets, at ease!”

Later, PantsLess solicited the complicity of the band director who called for Trumpet Player A to stand at attention while PantsLess snuck up behind him and dumped a huge bucket of cold water over his head. If you know anything about marching band, you know when you’re at attention, you’re AT attention, no matter what happens. He stood there for a deliciously long time, dripping, not able to smile, not able to twitch, much to the delight of the rest of the band.

My favorite story though, comes to me from my son, Adam. They were on a band trip somewhere which means four kids ”” usually BFFs* ”” to a hotel room, sharing queen-sized beds. While BedMate was taking a shower, Adam put on a second pair of boxers. When they were all in bed getting ready for lights out, Adam slipped off one of the boxers, casually tossed it across the room toward his suitcase, then rolled toward BedMate.

He was across the room in a blur, yelling “What are you DOING??”

Adam said, “Oh. Sorry. You don’t want to spoon?”

It’s stuff like THAT that makes me wish I was in marching band.

So, I’m begging you … tell me your band stories. I love them more than bloggers love words … more than poets love cheese … more than Scrooge McDuck loves money … more than Greenpeace loves whales … more than texters love their thumbs. That’s a lot and you know it. The good stories will find their way into one of my novels. This I promise.

* Best Friends Forever, in teenage girl speak. See? This is an educational blog.

American Band

I was never in marching band.

When I was a kid, I took the obligatory piano lessons from the scary neighbor lady. I wasn’t very inspired (or talented) and took every opportunity not to play the piano. My father played the piano, including a rollicking good Bumblebee Boogie, and we listened to all kinds of music when I was growing up. In fact, I have an uncommonly clear memory of coming home from school to see my oldest siblings and my parents listening to the just released “Tommy” album by The Who. But as I write that, I’m wondering if it only happened in fuzzy BeckyLand because my parents were never there when I came home from school. They had to work to provide allowances to be frittered away on rock opera albums. Come to think of it, I don’t really recall attending school. Or having siblings. Or allowances. Other than that, it is a crystal clear memory.

Imagine my surprise when all three of my kids picked up instruments and played most of them fairly well. (I can confirm this is a Real Memory because I live in the house where they practice.) Between them they play: piano, violin, clarinet, saxophone, tuba, upright bass, trumpet, guitar, recorder, kazoo, pan flute and that thing shaped like the horn of some extinct animal like in the Ricola commercials.

The one nearest and dearest to us is the tuba. Both boys march(ed) tuba in their high school band and because of their fantastic experiences, I became interested enough to use the marching band as the setting for my current young adult novel.

Even though I knew a LOT about the Wonderful World of Band as a Band Mom (much like a pit bull hockey mom, but without all the creepy lipstick), I still wanted to do some research to get other perspectives.

But guess what? There aren’t that many books about the high school band experience. I KNOW! But I found a really terrific one …. AMERICAN BAND – Music, Dreams, and Coming of Age in the Heartland by Kristen Laine.

It’s a non-fiction chronicle of the lives of a group of kids in an Indiana marching band. Stefan Fatsis says, “It’s much more than the story of a season in the life of the most fanatical practitioners of this uniquely American ritual. Kristen Laine has produced a captivating portrait of what it’s like to be a teenager in middle America in the first part of the twenty-first century.”

I found it riveting. I was sucked into the lives of these kids and I cried at the end. (I know, I know. I cried at the end of Shoot The Moon too. So sue me. At least this time I wasn’t a public spectacle.)

It provided excellent research, but it left me craving more. Laine listed some titles in the back of her book, most of which I can’t find. Do you know of any books about high school marching band? College marching band? Drum and bugle corps? Novels or non-fiction ”” I’d love to read more.